HONOLULU (KHON2) — A bill is making its way through the House and Senate trying to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and keep them from being mislabeled as nicotine free.

House Bill 1570 which bans the sale of flavored tobacco and synthetic nicotine products; prohibiting mislabeling of e-liquid products containing nicotine; and prohibit the marketing, advertising, or promoting of electronic smoking devices to appeal to individuals under twenty-one.

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Senator Rosalyn Baker, representing District 6, said if the House agrees to the recent amendment of the bill and the Governor signs it then it could take effect July 1. 

“So, we’re trying to tackle it in any means that we can,” said Baker. “We know that youth are attracted to the candy flavors and the wow factor of an e-cigarette as opposed to a standard cigarette.”

Baker said companies that are behind these kinds of cigarettes have moved to adding flavors that might seem more appealing to young buyers that could potentially hook younger generations. 

“But now that they’re in synthetic nicotine, that does the same thing, but is not derivative from tobacco,” said Baker. “Many places are having to go back and revisit their statutes as a result.”

Members of the University of Hawaii Student Health Advisory Council sent in a letter supporting H.B. 1570 SD1 relating to the youth vaping epidemic. 

“The Student Health Advisory Council has played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of health policies and tobacco education on the UH System campuses. We remain deeply committed to the mission of reducing the use of all tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices, among adolescents and young adults. With products like Juul and other popular electronic smoking devices, it is increasingly clear that these products are addicting a whole generation of youth to a harmful product. The Surgeon General has gone so far as to declare youth e-cigarette use an epidemic, and states that there is an urgent need to protect young people from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks.”

Members of the University of Hawaii Student Health Advisory Council

Baker is hopeful this bill will get passed during the summer and cracking down on the youth smoking epidemic that is taking place in Hawaii and nationwide.

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“We are trying to stop an epidemic of young people getting hooked on the flavors including menthol,” said Baker. “Because menthol make dragging on a real cigarette or vape cigarette easier and it’s easier to hook because they all have nicotine whether they are tobacco-based nicotine or synthetic nicotine.”